There are several species of goose and some of them can make great pets. The scientific name for the genus of geese is Anser. Geese are found in many parts of North America and will migrate long distances to winter in warmer climates.
Do you think you might want to keep geese as pets? Before you embark on the adventure of keeping this type of waterfowl as a pet, you will want to be sure to get the right breed - some geese can be very aggressive and will not make great pets. Read on for some important facts and tips for keeping geese as pets.
What Type of Geese Make Great Pets?
Before you bring home just any geese to keep as pets, you will want to choose the right breed. Check out the following geese that do make great pets.
Embdem - This goose is a heavy and hardy breed. It is friendly but tends to be noisy.Advertisement
Toulouse - This waterfowl is a hardy, heavy bird that leans toward being calm and quiet.
African - The breed is considered hardy but can get frostbite in colder climates. It also tends to be noisy.
Pomeranian - Another noisy bird that is hardy and docile.
Buff - This goose species is medium-size and hardy with a calm and docile personality.
Pilgrim - This bird is also medium-sized, calm, and docile.Advertisement
Sebastopol - This medium-sized goose will need a warmer climate, but it is very calm, quiet, and social.
Roman - Unlike some other species, the Roman is a light bird. It is quite hardy, friendly, and calm.
Chinese - This breed is also on the lighter side but it does tend to be noisy.
The Appearance of the Goose
The appearance of your pet goose will depend on the specific breed you choose. However, all geese share some general qualities. They have long necks and long legs with webbed feet. They have roundish heads with small dark eyes and long bills. Their bodies are quite plump and are covered in a variety of colored feathers - unlike their duck counterparts that have shorter necks and shorter legs. Geese also make a nasal honking sound, while ducks quack.
Can You Keep Geese as Pets?
Yes! Certain breeds of geese can be found on farms. However, before you keep geese as pets, you will want to be sure you have enough room for this type of bird. It goes without stating that a goose would not make a good pet for a small space or an apartment.
The lifespan of this type of waterfowl is from 10 to 24 years depending on the breed and how well you meet its needs.
The Personality and Temperament of Geese
Each breed of the goose can exhibit different personality traits, so it's important to research the type of geese you would like to keep as pets to ensure it has the right character traits for a successful relationship with you.
Generally, geese are very smart and can form tight bonds with their humans. However, this type of bird can also be aggressive, so you will need to learn the signs of when your goose/geese are agitated to avoid any conflict.
Some breeds of geese will bond with their human caretakers, will follow them around, and may even give "gooseneck hugs."
People with geese claim they are a very entertaining pet that can even be playful and silly at times.
How Do You House Geese?
Geese should be kept in small flocks of at least three birds (females have less of a tendency to fight). These are outdoor animals so you will need to provide them with a large penned area and a shelter to get out of the elements. A general rule-of-thumb is to allow three-squared feet per goose in an indoor enclosure and six-squared feet of space per goose for outdoor roaming and grazing (three geese should be happy in a 20x40 foot pen). When setting up the outdoor pen, be sure to place it on the grass where your geese can hunt for insects and graze on the natural vegetation. Use at least three feet high chicken wire to create a safe enclosure for your geese.
You will also want to add a pool of water for your geese to swim in - these plastic structures can be purchased online or at retailers. Be sure to change the water daily to prevent disease.
Feeding Your Geese
Seventy percent of the goose's diet is grass. Geese will also dine on the natural insects found in your yard, but you will also want to supplement their meals with a commercial mix made specifically for this type of waterfowl.
Tips on Keeping Geese as Pets
As with any pet, you will want some good tips on keeping your pet geese healthy.
If your geese are able to fly, you may have to clip the flight feathers on one wing to keep them grounded.
Goslings can imprint with humans but they must be taken away from their natural parents upon hatching.
Geese are strong birds, so you will need to respect this waterfowl.
Be sure your geese have access to shade in the summer months and heat in the winter months.
Geese that are housed on cement or hard ground and without a water source for swimming can develop serious health issues.
These birds are very social, so they should be kept in flocks.
Aggression during mating season is normal. Be cautious around males during this time and with moms and their goslings.
Do not allow geese around small children without supervision. An attack by a goose can be serious.
Fun Facts About Geese
Want to know about geese? Check out these fun facts.
Geese are less prone to disease and parasites and generally do not need to be vaccinated.
Goose eggs are huge! They can lay up to 100 eggs a year.
Geese are very protective and territorial. They will honk (and even chase away) perceived threats.
Some geese can fly as fast as 40 mph
Some geese like to dine on seeds, nuts, berries, and plants.
Migrating geese fly in a V pattern.
Geese build their nests out of mud, feathers, twigs, and grass.
Baby geese are yellow and fluffy.
If a goose becomes injured, the flock will stay with it until it gets better or dies.
It takes about two years for a goose to fully mature.
The Goose & You
If you believe geese are the right pets for you, begin by finding a reputable breeder. Never take a gosling out of the wild. This will cause great stress and harm to the baby and you may also be harmed by an aggressive parent-goose in the process.
Before you purchase geese be sure you have the proper setup to keep this waterfowl happy and healthy for the duration of its life.
Futher reading and references:
- Dr. Chris Ashton (June 1, 2012) - Keeping Geese: Breeds and Management
- BackYard Chickens: Raising Geese